Game-themed mansion in Clermont offers fun-filled vacation escape
13-room lakeside house features movie theater, fish-shaped pool
CLERMONT, Fla. – Where can you play pretty much any board game ever, escape an escape room, swim in a pool, play human foosball, make your way through a laser maze and play with a giant Lite Brite without ever having to leave the house?
It may sound too good to be true, but it's anything but at an Orlando-area vacation rental home called the Great Escape Lakeside.
Owner and master creator Andrew Greenstein said the game-themed 13-bedroom, 10 and a haf bathroom home is already sold out for most of this year and next. It sits on 10 acres, right on a lake.
It costs anywhere from $1,295 to $2,045 a night, depending on the season, but it does sleep up to 45 people, so if you're planning a family reunion or wedding, it's a good choice.
The Great Escape Lakeside has all the comforts of home, and then more than you can imagine.
The first floor opens up into a giant great room, complete with a huge floor piano -- a la the movie "Big" -- floor chess, a half bathroom, a pun-filled kitchen and Games of the World eating area.
From there, you can head into the very detailed movie theater with a "Jumanji" theme, or one of the seven themed bedrooms. You can also check out the Western World's Largest Word Search, which has a Guinness award for its 62,500 letters and 7,206 words.
If you head into the Las Vegas master bedroom, you'll find two slot machines, or you can play blackjack or roulette. Don't forget to check out the closets in each bedroom -- there's usually a joke.
You can also head into the Royal Flush bathroom, where you'll find a photo of Greenstein's wife, Belinda, posing as a Vegas model. You can find little mentions of Greenstein, his wife, his two daughters and their dogs hidden all around the home, if you look hard enough.
Around the corner, there's a whole wing dedicated to the game Clue -- it's also the rooms that turn into a giant escape room within the home.
"Well, this was a feat to come up with because, you know, when you're in an escape room, there's people that work there and they watch you on camera and you can raise your hands and you can get hints," Greenstein said. "There's no way to do that here because I can't watch people, obviously, so there's no way to help them. So how to do it? And what I came up with, we based it on the game of Clue, and in the game of Clue, you're supposed to find out what the weapon was, who the murderer is and where it happened. Clue has 21 cards, we hid 18 cards, most of them behind locks, like in an escape room. We custom-designed an app for an Android tablet and the app is where you put in the cards as you find them and the app serves as the game master so when you want a clue, you tap the clue button and it knows what you're up to by which cards you have already found. So without any human being here, it's able to give you the next proper clue, and just like a proper escape room, you get two clues free and the next one will take three to five minutes off your time."
The wing includes two bedrooms and a bathroom in between, all decked out in Clue paraphernalia, down to the bedspreads. Greenstein pointed out that in order to be successful with the escape room, you need to be very thorough in your searches. He said the fastest anyone has escaped that he knows of has been 51 minutes.
"It's every bit as good as one of the commercial ones. In fact, there was a major escape room review website that came out to review it and they gave it five stars as one of the best ones in the Orlando area," Greenstein said.
Also on the first floor, you'll find the Monopoly bedroom, complete with jail closet and Greenstein's special game rules on the wall. You can head through the adjoining Water Works bathroom to get to the Scrabble room, which includes other popular word games to try, and details around the whole room, complete with actual boards on the ceiling, and floor tiling that appears to be a Scrabble board.
If you like, you can play a little Trivial Pursuit in the hallway on your way down to the Carnival games bedroom, which looks like you're stepping onto your favorite boardwalk. You can play Troll Toss, and knock the dolls down with bean bags and there's even a dry-erase spinner so you can make up your own prizes.
Zoltare can tell you your fortune, and then don't forget to check out the fun mirror above the bed. The fun continues in the bathroom, where you can play ping-pong toss for your very own (fake) goldfish pet, or if your phone runs out of battery while you're on the toilet, there's good ole' Potty Toss.
Before you head up the Donkey Kong stairs, take a peek in the door just to the left -- it's actually "bedroom" number seven -- the Dungeons and Dragons bedroom. Yes, they've turned the closet under the stairs into a themed bedroom -- complete with two beds, which we're told is a favorite of their youngest guests.
Once you get upstairs, you've pretty much walked straight onto the set of your favorite game show. There's actually a big screen game show game console, complete with microphones and buzzers. If "The Price is Right" is your thing, you can play Plinko on the wall. There's also a giant Lite Brite for you to get creative with as well as your choice of pinball machines.
That's all before you even make it into one of the six bedrooms and bathrooms up there.
The Operation bedroom is a fan favorite -- with a huge version of the classic game on the wall that you can play with huge tongs, and yes, there is a buzzer if you touch the sides. The bathroom is dedicated to TV hospital doctors, with a cameo of Greenstein. Next door is the Pac-Man bedroom, and of course, you can play the '80s game right in the room. Then there's the Mind Games room, with a Rubik's cube bathroom and Simon Says.
The War Games bedroom has green Army men all over the room, as well as favorites like Call of Duty and Risk, and the Battleship bathroom. Word Games is another room, with Pictionary and Tic Tac Toe on the walls.
Finally, arguably one of the coolest rooms is the Laser Games bedroom, which has its own laser maze. The room actually boots up -- and in the dark, you see green lasers crossing the room in different patterns. The object is to make it across the bed to hit the target while avoiding the lasers as best as possible. You're timed, and you do get a score once you complete the challenge.
But the fun doesn't end inside.
Once you head outside, there's an outdoor kitchen and grill alongside the huge fish-shaped pool with a lazy river, hot tub and slide. If you prefer to stay dry, you can choose Snickball, which is a cross between soccer and billiards. Or, you can be a human bowling ball or play human foosball with friends. There's life-sized checkers, tetherball, volleyball, basketball and even giant Connect Four.
You pretty much don't need to leave the house the entire weekend if you don't want to, and Greenstein said many times, people don't.
"One of the best compliments that I ever get is when people tell me, and I cant even believe, that they come to Florida just for this place and they picked their vacation based on this house," Greenstein said. "They could have gone to Hawaii or whatever, but they came here for this and they never even leave to go to theme parks, like they spend their entire week here and that blows me away."
The house is so popular, Greenstein is custom-building a second one. It will be located nearby in Clermont, and is called The Great Escape Parkside. Greenstein said the 2.0 version will have 15 bedrooms instead of 13, several new features and will open in January 2019. It's already booking up.
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